A Salute To Earth Week

Today, it’s all about energy use, or lack of use more specifically, and how you can cut back on energy use painlessly and save cash. This will give me a chance to use that list of links I’ve collected and get your ideas.

GreenenergyWhen I was a little girl, I used to turn off lights in the house. I had just read the book "50 Simple Things Kids Can Do To Save The Earth" and that was my take home message: little things can add up to a lot. Turning off a light in a room no one was using seemed simple, so I began doing it. There was some complaining that I turned off the lights on people when they were still in the room but when the electric bill came in, the critics were silenced.

"You saved us $75 in electricity this month!" my mom told me. And here all I wanted to do was save the Earth! When I found out you could save money, too, there was no stopping me.

Here are a few quick fixes for you:

1) Try not to use your clothes dryer. It’s quite a little energy hog. My friend Susan told me if you turn on your dryer and look at your electric meter, it’s nuts. And I believe her. Plus I found from Idealbite that the average dryer costs $135/year to run. Try a rack or the clothesline. As The Maine Life mentioned earlier this week, National Hanging Out Day is April 19!

2) Set up your computer for success. The Simple Dollar had a great post this week about how you can set up your computer to use less energy. Savings by doing all these things add up to $350 and prevent three and a half tons of CO2 emissions.

3) Phantom loads on electronics should be curbed. They result from things that are plugged in but not being used and can also be avoided by unpluging unused electronics or buying a powerstrip that turns itself off (see Idealbite if the latter is of interest). The amount of energy used by phantom loads is estimated to be about 75% by Efficiency Maine. So take 75% of your electric bill and that’s what you could potentially save!

4) Get a programmable thermostat. It’s going to sound so nerdy but I asked for a programmable thermostat for Christmas. I have often forgotten to turn down the heat as I leave the house in the winter so having something do it for me makes so much sense. Sure it’s $50 but you can save $150 a year and that’s with last year’s energy prices. This could also work for those who live in places where air conditioning is more a problem.

5) Take a look at your hot water tank. If you turn down the temperature just a couple degrees on the hot water tank (will you really notice the difference betweek 130 degrees F and 120 degrees F?) and insulate your hot water pipes with foam. I couldn’t find an amount on how much this would save but it’s probably worth the 5-10 minutes it takes (and $5 in foam for the pipes).

In my travels, I also found a neat Virtual Energy Audit you can do in your own home. I haven’t taken it yet but it takes 30 minutes and an electric bill to complete. It can target specific ways you can save money at your home. You can also usually borrow meters from your local library and test the electricity used in your devices yourself. (I’m thinking a kid or a certain scientific-minded boyfriend would love this little experiment.)

There’s plenty of ways to painlessly save energy and money; kick it off this Earth Week!

Picture from http://www.darnnews.blogspot.com 

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